Chaos Over Cosmos is the unlikely progressive metal collaboration of Poland’s Rafal Bowman and Javier Calderon from Spain. In 2016 Bowman started the musical project but it took a while before he found his ideal vocalist in Calderon.
The result of this collaboration is the 5-track 48-minute The Unknown Voyage. So, we know they’re progressive metal and with the words ‘voyage’ and ‘cosmos’ involved I think you know where their subject matter lies.
I don’t quite know how they managed it but Rafal and Javier have blended modern progressive metal with old school progressive rock from the 70s to stunning effect.
Yes, there are 3 songs clocking in at over 10 minutes but don’t be put off by that, which you won’t be if you’re a prog fan.
Our Unknown Voyage begins in gentle fashion with the delicate instrumental “A Hidden Path”. It has a dreamy quality reminiscent of Pink Floyd when in introspective mood. Whilst there’s not much metal happening on this opening track it does provide the feel as to where the album intends to take us.
The longest track on the album is second up. “Armour of the Stars (Xenogears)” is a prog lover’s wet dream. It’s got riffs aplenty, fantastical lyrics and long passages of time-changing instrumentals and is divided into separate parts. Inspired by the PlayStation game Xenogears the track takes us through the story and name-checks the characters within. Hugely enjoyable, the musical parts are excellent and Calderon’s vocals are well suited, sounding like a cross between John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia) and Klaus Meine (Scorpions).
“They Will Fall” is another meaty affair romping home at 12 minutes. Once again, though, boredom was nowhere to be seen. The track is slower out of the blocks than its predecessor and has a slightly labored feel, at least early on, but when you’re talking about a rotten society you can’t be all jolly about it, can you? The song is full of atmosphere with the simple but effective riffs maintaining the interest and rhythm. The pace picks up for the last quarter when optimism takes over and all feels better in the world.
Deep breaths, folks, we’ve another monster on our hands. This time it’s “The Compass” which is a mere 10 minutes 50. The track is the closest to 70s/80s prog rock. Gentler, more thoughtful vocals lead us along on this one with the instrumentation more restrained, for a while at least. Compared to what’s gone before this is a far less complex song but no less enjoyable.
We had an instrumental to start, and now we have an instrumental to finish. “They Remembered My Name” is an environmental inspired piece which is a great track to get lost in. There’s a whole lot of fretboard action going on at a fair lick and it would not be unfair to say that it’s a self-indulgent virtuoso Bowman performance.
If you enjoy progressive metal then you’ll love The Unknown Voyage, it’s like sailing through a prog fans dreamscape. A big well done to Rafal and Javier for this great debut.